Baden's absence may hurt accuser's case

Updated: July 23, 2004, 7:10 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

EAGLE, Colo. -- In a move experts say might hurt the accuser's case against Kobe Bryant, pathologist Michael Baden has been pulled from the prosecution's witness list, according to a Friday report in the Los Angeles Times.

Baden was meant to testify about strangulation -- the accuser has said the Lakers star held her by the neck during their encounter -- and genital trauma as well as about a bruise medical examiners found on the accuser's jaw the day after Bryant's alleged rape on June 30, 2003. The prosecution also intended to have the renowned pathologist rebut testimony from the defense's DNA expert, Elizabeth Johnson, who said that the semen found on the alleged victim could have been from her dirtied underpants.

"Michael Baden is both famous and formidable," legal analyst Craig Silverman told the Times on Thursday. "For the prosecution to pull him as a witness, it is reasonable to infer that he doesn't have anything valuable to say to contradict Elizabeth Johnson."

The news that he would not testify was part of a court document made public Thursday.

Baden has been a consultant on other high-profile cases such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the murder case against O.J. Simpson. He was present in court when Johnson testified at a closed hearing June 22.

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